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The Omni Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia is known as America’s Oldest Resort. This stunning property located in the Allegheny Mountains has welcomed over 20 U.S. Presidents during its 250-year history.
Step Back in Time when you Visit the Omni Homestead, America’s Oldest Resort
What would the journey to Hot Springs, Virginia have looked like when Thomas Jefferson made the trip in 1819? How difficult was it to manage a horse and wagon up into the Allegheny Mountains? Imagine hearing about miraculous hot, bubbling water found in the ground, at a time when a hot bath was a luxury requiring considerable effort. No doubt Jefferson wondered if these magical waters might have a healing effect on his health and rheumatism! Thoughts like these were in mind as I made the winding drive to what has been called America’s Oldest Resort.
It’s hard not to be impressed with the Homestead’s remarkable 250-year history, which has included visits from over 20 U.S. Presidents plus numerous dignitaries from all over the world. Once a neutral ground for Native Americans, archeologists have found evidence of the land’s use dating back over 9,000 years! The first resort was an 18-room inn that was built in the 1760’s by Captain Thomas Bullitt. Bullitt was deeded the land by George Washington before the USA even was the USA, and Bullitt wanted to share the spring water with wellness seekers and weary travelers. It’s faced an amazing history filled with a variety of owners and expansions, and in 2013 was purchased by Omni, who took great care to showcase the resort’s unique character and regional heritage. Now called the Omni Homestead, it boasts 482 rooms, virtually every activity you can think of and is ideal not only for the health-minded traveler but also for families looking for rest and recreation.
I was able to visit for a quick 2-day conference and was immediately enchanted. The majestic property literally begs visitors to slow down and pause, offering comfortable places to sit and lovely views from every angle. From overstuffed furniture where each afternoon “Southern Social Hour” is served alongside piano music, to rocking chairs, benches, and hammocks that beckon you to enjoy majestic mountain views and connect with your family and nature.
At the Omni Homestead, Activities are Plentiful
If it’s activity you’re after, there is no shortage. The 2,000+ acre property offers ample hiking, biking, canoeing, tennis, archery, fly fishing and more, all staffed by experts who are delighted to help guests try something new or perfect a skill. In fact, the staff is one of the best strengths of this resort, and there are generations of families who have delivered impeccable service at the Homestead for years. For the 250 year anniversary, the resort did some research and found a family with 90+ Homestead employees among its history!
Tee Off on the Omni Homestead Golf Course
The Resort offers 2 mountain-view golf courses, which have attracted players including Presidents William Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Regan and George W. Bush. The “Old Course” was built in the 1800’s and the first tee is the oldest golf tee in America in continuous use! The more popular Cascades Course is ranked one of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses” by Golf Digest, and both courses offer a clubhouse, practice facilities, and Callaway club rentals. Homestead golf packages are available.
An 85+-year-old Shooting Club is open 365 days a year and offers a variety of clay shooting courses and skeet fields, alongside the expertise of 6 NSCA certified instructors providing guests with the best possible sporting clays experience. An equestrian center can provide a leisurely trail ride or lessons and you can even try your arm at falconry!
Families will Find Plenty of Activities for the Kids
Modern activities are also available at the Omni Homestead. Enjoy a Segway tour, mini-golf, family yoga, a water park with a lazy river and even a treetop adventure course. Daily Resort Guides help guests plan for daily activities and meals at the resort’s various dining options, that range from casual to formal and feature locally sourced fish, meat, fruits, and vegetables.
Take Relaxation to the Next Level at the Omni Homestead Spa
An adult only, full-service Spa and Serenity Garden house several of the natural springs and pools on the property. The spa offers a fitness center, multiple fitness and yoga classes, several pools and the largest natural spring on the property. A spring-fed reflexology walk studded with local rocks provides natural relief to tired feet and an on-site Kid’s Club can care for little ones while parents unwind.
Today, the Jefferson National Springs – the largest springs in the region, which are located up the road from the resort, are closed to the public while they plan to make the entrance safer and sustainable. However, the Hot Springs area still offers reasons to explore and includes a ski resort, a craft distillery, and the Garth Newel Music Center which offers afternoon and evening concerts.
There is literally something for everyone to like in Hot Springs, Virginia and the Omni Homestead provides elegant yet comfortable accommodations that make it easy to unwind and connect with nature. I found it surprisingly affordable, and at the time of this writing, rates started at $139 depending on the season and room type. If you’re looking for an experience that offers a mix of old and new, look no further than the Omni Homestead. This historic property won’t disappoint.
Tips to Know Before Visting the Omni Homestead in Hot Springs
• Enjoy the free History Tour, which is offered daily at 10 am from the Great Hall.
• If you have young children, be sure the front desk knows, and they’ll be given a backpack of goodies to welcome them at check in!
• Maple donuts are a house-made traditional you won’t want to miss. They are featured in the pricey yet decadent breakfast buffet.
• Guided hikes with a naturalist are available or get a trail map at the Concierge Desk for a number of suggested self-guided hikes.
• Join the Omni’s free loyalty program before you go, which includes perks with your first visit including free morning beverages delivered to your room!
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